Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden is pleased to host our annual Golden Maple Reception this September. This year's event will be divided into two separate events, a keynote presentation at the University of Lethbridge by Dr. Darren Aoki & Dr. Carly Adams and a night of opera in the garden featuring performers from the Little Lethbridge Opera Company. 

In the Wondrous Reverberations of Silence: Mel Murakami and a Generation of Japanese Canadian Visionaries

September 19 - 7PM
University of Lethbridge, 1st Choice Savings Building, Room PE-250
No admission, donations greatly appreciated

They constructed a Japanese garden on the parched land of the southern Alberta prairie, an iconic monument amplifying the most powerful of all sounds – silence. Mel Murakami, Kingo Sakamoto, and a generation of many other Japanese Canadians. Who were these visionaries who literally changed the face of postwar Lethbridge? How can we piece together the stories of people who did so much but spoke so little?

In a very special journey to remember remarkable individuals, we’ll hear echoes of voices now long departed in the memories of their descendants. We’ll eavesdrop on the behind-the-scenes of the extraordinary things they achieved.

In giving long-overdue recognition to them, we’ll also begin to discover something of our own shared heritage: tales of wartime degradation survived and hardship overcome, of connections forged across continents and friendships nurtured, and above all, how a vision of beauty in a Japanese garden is a lesson of sharing in our conflicted times.

Come, join us, to hear silence in all its wondrous, thunderous reverberations.

Darren Aoki is Lecturer in World History at the University of Plymouth (United Kingdom).  His research interests include gender and sexuality in twentieth-century Japan, and more recently, the history of the Japanese diaspora with a methodological focus on oral history and digital storytelling. In 2011, Aoki initiated a pilot project of oral history interviews exploring the history of southern Alberta Nisei (‘second generation’). In 2017, he teamed up with Carly Adams to launch the Nikkei Memory Capture Project, a long-term community-based oral history project to spur the narration of the history of Japanese Canadians in the second half of the twentieth century.

Carly Adams is a Board of Governors Research Chair (Tier II), Acting Associate Dean in the School of Graduate Studies and an associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Lethbridge. She is also a founding member of the Centre for Oral History and Tradition. As a social historian and an advocate for oral history, her research explores community, identity, and gender with a focus on sport, recreation, and leisure experiences. 

Madame Butterfly

September 27 - 6PM
Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden

An evening in the garden featuring performances from Madame Butterfly by Megan Wittig, Lisa Mulgrew, Joni Thompson, DJ Gellatly & Joel Goodfellow of the Little Lethbridge Opera Company. Enjoy a presentation on Nikka Yuko's latest exhibit, In the Wondrous Reverberations of Silence: Mel Murakami and A Generation of Japanese Canadian Visionaries, while enjoying cocktails & appetizers before taking in a beautiful performance in the most stunning opera seat in Canada. 


Full Evening (6-8PM) - $50.00
Includes exhibit presentation, opera performances, cocktails & appetizers, and reserved seating for the performance

Season pass holders can purchase a Full Evening ticket for $40.00, please purchase your tickets at the garden or by calling 403-328-3511.

Opera (7-8PM) - $35
Includes opera performance only, cash bar on site. Seating is first come, first served.